Freezer Cooking Tutorial

 

 


Freezer Cooking!! Something EVERYONE should know how to do.

 

Why Freeze Your Meals?

I first started freezer cooking as a way to save time in the evenings. It was just a bit of an experiment to see if I truely could eat homemade food for a month without actually having to cook anything.

I’m telling you its worth it.

Throughout this little experiment of mine I realised that I could not only save time in the evenings, I could also save money!

And lets be serious that was a huge motivation for me to start looking into this whole freezer cooking thing a bit more.

 

Supplies You’ll Need


There’s a few things you’ll need to get before you start freezer cooking.

Before you go out and start buying things you’ll need to decide what type of containers you’re going to use. You can either store your freezer food in disposable containers or you can go for the reusable containers.

Most of you will probably already have an array of containers at home that you can use for freezer cooking, so make sure you check your tupperware draw first!

When I first started freezer cooking I didn’t wan’t to outlay a huge amount of money so I mainly used disposable containers and a few plastic containers that I had laying around at home.

As I started freezing cooking more and more I transitioned across to glass containers. I like to use glass over plastic for a couple of reasons. First, its better for the environment. Do we really need anymore plastic in this world? Second, it is super versatile. You can buy glass containers that can go in the freezer, fridge, oven and even the microwave!

Now, if you do decide to go down the disposable containers pathway then you’ll need to grab yourself some of the following:

  • Plastic wrap

  • Disposable plastic containers of various sizes

  • Zip lock bags – make sure they are freezer safe

  • Aluminium trays of various sizes


Check out what I suggest below:

Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means we will earn a commission if you make a purchase. 

This commission comes at no additional cost to you.

 

 


Reusable Containers….

If you would prefer to use reusable containers then I recommend the ones below.

 

Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means we will earn a commission if you make a purchase. 

This commission comes at no additional cost to you. 

 

 



Freezer Burn

 

How to stop the dreaded freezer burn! 

Freezer burn happens when food becomes damaged by dehydration and oxidation due to air reaching the food.

Basically, freezer burn sucks and you don’t want it.

If you do get freezer burn on your food, don’t worry you CAN still eat it. It is still perfectly safe to eat, it may just have a strange or unappealing texture or colour to it.

So now for what you’ve all been waiting for… how do you avoid freezer burn? Theres a few ways to do this:

  • Make sure your food is wrapped and packaged properly to minimise the amount of air the can come into contact with your meal – i’ll explain how to do this further down
  • Make sure your freezer stays at or below -18C. You want your food to stay 100% FROZEN for the entire time
  • Make sure that you use your frozen food within the time period specified for below

 

Things You Can’t Freeze

 

Theres a couple of things to keep in mind when freezer cooking. Its not that things are ‘unsafe’ to freeze, its more they just don’t come out of the freezer the same way they went in!

Heres a quick list of things you shouldn’t freeze:

  • Salad – lettuce, cucumber etc.
  • Vegetables – onion, capsicum etc. if you want to eat them uncooked
  • Dairy – whole eggs, mayonnaise, sour cream

Basically just use your common sense, do you really think lettuce will freeze well? No, so don’t freeze it!

Some trial and error works well. I realised that sour cream separates like crazy when you try to freeze it and turns into a runny mess… oops.

 

Food Safety


Now theres a few things to keep in mind here. First of all use your common sense. If something doesn’t look right/smells funky then throw it out.

If in doubt THROW OUT!

The Australian food safety information council basically says that the length of time something will last in the freezer depends on the freezer temperature. It goes on to say that from a safety perspective you can store vegetables, meats and a combination of these for years without any problem of food poisoning.

However, the longer you leave your food in the freezer, the more the quality, nutrients and taste will decrease.

They recommend food can be stored in a freezer at -18C for 3 months or more (depending on the fat content) with no problems at all.

It is important to keep in mind, the higher the fat content of your food the shorter the life span.

Just to sum all of this up, it is pretty easy to tell if somethings gone off. The human body is very good at detecting this. If it doesn’t look right or smells bad then simply don’t eat it. It’s not worth it!

 

How to Freezer Cook

 

Well theres a couple of ways to do this. You can have one big cooking day and make meals for the whole month or you can simply double your recipes when you’re cooking and eat one batch and freeze the other.

I usually do the big cooking day and then my freezer is stocked for the next month or so.

To do this, first of all check out some of my freezer recipes here. You then need to have a think about what you and your family like to eat. For example, is it summer or winter? What veggies or salad are in season at the moment? Should you plan your meals around hot stews and winter style food or cold salads for a hot summer night?

These are all things that need to be considered when meal planning for the freezer.

For example, if i were to do a freezer cooking day for the month of July (a cold winter month for all us Australians) I’d focus on soups, stews and a lot of nice slow cooker meals. Something like this:

  • pumpkin soup
  • lasagne
  • slow cooker butter chicken
  • slow cooker chicken curry
  • slow cooker beef and veggie stew
  • slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs

Then for my weekly shop i’d stock up on a whole bunch of in season, organic (if at all possible), vegetables to go with the meals.

 

Keeping Track of Your Freezer Meals

 

Something to consider when freezer cookings is to draw up a quick inventory.

We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve dug right to the back of the freezer and found some unknown meat thats been there for god knows how long. You don’t want this to happen to your meals after you’ve put all that money and time into making them.

All you need to do is draw up a quick inventory page that has the meal name, the date you froze them, and how many meals are left in the freezer.

This is also a handy thing to do for the next time your freezer cooking. You can refer back to your list and see how much of a certain meal you made. It can also be helpful if you add in little notes like whether you liked the meal, how long it lasted you before you rang out etc.

 

Defrosting Your Food

 

How you defrost your food is pretty important.

You basically want to take your meal out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost slowly in the fridge overnight.

This is the best way of defrosting your food.

You can also submerge your food into a sink filled with cold/room temperature water. This will defrost it a little faster.

It is not recommended that you simply leave your food out on the bench to defrost.

If you like you can chuck your freezer meal straight into the microwave. This will work better for some meals and not so great for others though, so just use a bit of common sense.

It is also completely save to re-freeze your meal. Say you take out some stir fry chicken on Thursday night from the freezer and put it in the fridge. Then Friday comes around and you end up going out for dinner and don’t need to cook your stir fry chicken. Just chuck it back in the freezer, no big deal at all!!

 

How to Get Started

 

Start by looking at my freezer friendly recipes and begin thinking about what you want to cook.

Decide on how you want to store your food. Check out my suggestions in this post above.

Make a PLAN. Make yourself a list of freezer meals you’d like to make, get a shopping list started and get cooking!